In the past I've been known to write the occasional travel blog post, exploring the quirks and oddities of whatever place I've been lucky enough to find myself. I don't typically take pictures of my quinoa bowl or tilapia tacos, apply a filter to make my digital phone-camera seem like an analogue piece of shit, and invite my followers to vicariously join me in my fulfilment of the basic bodily function of eating. No, I've never been a fan of that, and you don't need to expect a beautifully framed black-and-white photo of a soiled diaper or an empty milk bottle on the kitchen counter.
What you can expect here is a look at the life of a rookie going into his first season of parenting. For those of you without kids, maybe this will serve as a map so you can enjoy the joys and – probably more often than not – the outrages of the Hood of Parent. Or maybe if you're not even planning on having kids, this will be the fence at the zoo through which you can safely watch the orang-utans as you sip your vitamin water and snap pictures with your cell phone. And for those of you who've been through this, well you'll probably just like to read and discover how much has changed, and how much never changes.
So yes indeed, here we go. A travel blog for a trip described by Jamiroquai's album, Traveling Without Moving.
I'd like to start out by giving an honourable mention and virtual hug to the journalist Michael Lewis for writing the only book a new father needs to read: Home Game: An Accidental Guide to Fatherhood (sorry you english teachers out there. Two colons in a row. Don't know how else to navigate that tricky terrain).
I also need to thank my dear wife for picking the book out of the $1 table at Chapters and thrusting it in my direction, clearly in the hope that after her seventh month of pregnancy I'd finally put down my books about ant colony architecture and World War 2 airplane propellors and other such arcane pulp, and start to get ready for the arrival of this little creature into our lives.
Presently – being a few weeks into this journey – I think I was more or less right in avoiding parenting books; as a group they're not exactly a book of revelations, to borrow that from elsewhere. What really gets me excited is one of the greatest philosophers of all time, Dr. Seuss. But more on that in another post.
Assuming I need to read something involving the familiar world of adults, tax benefits, and decisions and not the primary-coloured universe of Marvin K. Mooney or the Once-ler or Yertle the Turtle, Michael Lewis' Home Game was just about as great a candidate as you can hope to find. He documents his experiences of fatherhood, finding that the things he's been told he's supposed to feel, he's not really feeling, and also noticing people around him are in more or less the same boat but refusing to admit it. What follows is a wickedly "hilarious": account of this guy's adventures. I put "hilarious" in quotation marks because right on the cover, The Onion has given the book its blessing as "Hilarious". No further questions shall be asked when America's Finest News Source drops the H-bomb.
The reason I really enjoyed Home Game though, is not that it shows how to wrap a swaddle blanket or how to change a diaper. It doesn't give a single useful tip! But what it does give is a precious spiritual position to us rookies: 'I as the father am going to be completely and utterly useless, always wrong, and quite possibly a liability to the well-being of my child.' Once you become hip to this, any nice thing that happens feels like a gift from heaven.
This book is the prophet of doom, when as it turns out, things aren't all that bad. After you've been convinced that the world is coming to an end at some point this evening, upon waking up the next morning – even if it's raining and your roof has blown away – you might feel pretty damn good.